Our School’s roots are in the original New Jersey Land-Grant College—the Rutgers Scientific School—established in 1864. (See full historical context.) SEBS is directly affiliated with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES)—established in 1880—and its associated extension unit, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE)—established in 1914. NJAES and RCE were created to conduct and transmit research relevant to the needs of the residents of New Jersey—to increase their wellbeing, and to protect and sustain the state’s biodiversity and natural resources.
This strong SEBS-NJAES relationship positions the School to build on its history of groundbreaking scholarship leading to transformational changes. Our 140-year legacy includes:
- A Nobel Prize for the development of a systematic approach to find antibiotics culminating in the discovery of streptomycin.
- The practical application of artificial insemination for farm animals.
- Intervention and prevention strategies to reduce disease transmitted through insects and ticks.
- Development of new breeds of ornamental plants, oysters, turf, trees, and agricultural crops, including the world-renowned Rutgers tomato.
- Innovation of the first air-inflated, double-layer polyethylene greenhouse.
- Advancement of sustainable and resilient forests and fisheries, and statewide support of wildlife conservation, land use, and water resource planning.
- Undergraduate student led navigation of the first undersea robot across an ocean basin in history, an accomplishment that was honored by the Smithsonian Institute and the White House.
SEBS-NJAES continues to successfully serve the increasingly diverse population of New Jersey by integrating basic and applied research with education, outreach, and engagement to achieve outcomes such as bolstering commercial agriculture; promoting local food production; advancing food engineering and safety; enhancing health and wellness through nutrition, physical activity, and social programs; innovating residential horticulture; supporting youth development and community-based family wellness; assisting in the development of small businesses; and advising local, state and federal government, industry, and individuals, including low-income families and children.
Our legacy is also embedded in our commitment to teaching and professional education. SEBS currently serves more than 3400 undergraduate students, and over 300 graduate students and post-doctoral trainees. Students are able to pursue 21 undergraduate majors, more than 30 minors and certificates, and a wide variety of master’s and doctoral degrees within 12 graduate programs, as well as experiential and study abroad opportunities. Several SEBS programs, accredited by national organizations, prepare students for the workforce and professional certification. All these efforts are sustained by dedicated staff who advance the vision and mission of the School through their research, support activities, and administrative and financial duties. The success of the school is further supported through shared leadership by faculty through the SEBS Department Chairs Council.
Today, New Jersey and its diverse population are on the frontlines of the challenges presented by the Anthropocene. It is the goal of this Strategic Plan to outline how we will prepare for and meet these challenges.